Winters are unrelenting and harsh in Delhi.Enveloped in warm heated apartments we fail to understand how ruthless and painful cold can be when home is out on the streets. But for a migrant group of population who are forced to leave their native land because of poverty and flock to cities like Delhi in the hope of earning their livelihood, street is the only affordable place. Every winter brings uncertainty for them, whether they will outlive the cold and earn their life.
IGSSS relentlessly works towards providing a life of dignity to the homeless citizenry through voicing their rights, undertaking campaigns concerning their issues and taking concrete steps such as providing shelter to a sizeable homeless population.
In a bid to provide comfort and warmth to the homeless populace every year the organisation undertakes ‘Winter Campaign’ and efforts are undertaken to save them from struggling, languishing and dying from bitter winter without food and roof over their head on the streets of Delhi.
Winter Warmth Initiatives
IGSSS has put in place a system of daily night vigil on the streets of Delhi, covering both IGSSS managed shelters as well as homeless hubs on the streets. The effort is to reach out to maximum number of CityMakers and destitute population and to preserve lives, by providing timely support.
Every night when the city wraps itself under blanket and quilts, the Night Vigil team scans the deserted roads and distributes blankets to people who lay bare and shivering. It is an initiative not only to help the homeless residents deal with the harsh winter but also to provide urgent medical attention to innumerable people living on the streets who requires urgent medical attention. During these visits, many rescue operations are carried out primarily of deserted women, the aged abandoned by their families, disabled and the seriously ill. The needy are rescued and provided refuge in the temporary and the permanent shelters set up by IGSSS in different parts of the city.
ONE HOT MEAL
The Hot Meal Initiative in collaboration with MCKS Food for Hungry Foundation was started in December 2012 in Yamuna Pushta area near Nigambodh Ghat. The vicinity is a key hub of homeless people (it is home to approximately 200-300 people) and many amongst them are engaged in strenuous work and are also addicted to drugs. While they remain malnourished throughout the year, it is during the winter that the situation becomes grave and Delhi reports several unclaimed frozen bodies of homeless person who die due to inability to obtain the minimum calories which could keep their bodies warm and help them fight winter, as they sleep on the street.
Under this initiative one hot nutritious meal was provided every evening and it reached out to 200 homeless people in the Yamuna Pushta area during the extreme winter period from December, 2012 to March 2013.
The One Hot Meal programme touched a chord with the homeless residents living at the Yamuna Pushta Shelter. According to the reports derived from the Focus Group Discussion with the homeless residents, it came to the fore that this initiative guaranteed them a sense of security for availing one hot meal during the winter months, when business was lean and not regular.
One of the significant impact of this intervention was that during the entire period of winters, not a single death of the homeless people who were provided food was reported.
CUP OF HOT TEA
IGSSS and NDTV initiated the campaign ‘This Winter Give a Cup of Tea to the Homeless’ for a period from 10th January – 14th February, 2013. Under this campaign, morning tea and biscuits were provided everyday to the homeless residents waking up to shivering cold foggy mornings. It reached out to approximately 7500 vulnerable and destitute people.
As a result of the initiative undertaken jointly by NDTV and IGSSS, donation of Rs 1,88,124 was received from individuals across the country and abroad. The amount was utilized towards implementation of this campaign and a portion of the proceeds was utilized to distribute 500 blankets and 180 sleeping bags to the homeless people living on the streets.